I always pictured Mum as one of those great post-rock groups with leanings toward electronic bleeps and bloops and lightly orchestrated melodies with dark sound-scapes, all of it instrumental. After all, Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is Okay was pretty much just that, and it is the only album from Mum of which I’ve heard. Their new one, Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know is quite different – at least at first. And I just haven’t quite gotten over the shock of less electronics and… well, the full inclusion of vocals.
Still, initial head turning inquiries aside, Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know isn’t half bad. In fact, it’s quite solid. The melody in “Sing Along”, after a few listens, surpasses anything off Yesterday/Today. And, instead of coming in around a Mogwai reference, these sounds are more in line with a group like Architecture In Helsinki minus that group’s occasional overt and over-the-top cheesiness. It has moments that come close (I’m thinking of you, “The Smell Of Today Is Sweet Like The Breast Milk In The Wind”), but the overall hypnotic mannerisms of these songs leave them in an altogether different universe.
Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know is packed with light, bouncy pop tunes like “Prophecies And Reversed Memories” and “Blow Your Nose” that are filled with highly melodic instrumentation and obscure instruments (in the former, what sounds like a didgeridoo). In a way, the inclusion of full vocals give this band a completely different personality, as if having undergone electroshock therapy. And as such procedures are meant to do, the resulting alterations to that personality are ones that many will agree as being much more enjoyable than the prior.
Morr Music [CD, 2009]
1. If I Were A Fish
2. Sing Along
3. Prophecies And Reversed Memories
4. A River Don’t Stop To Breathe
5. The Smell Of Today Is Sweet Like The Breast Milk In The Wind
6. Show Me
8. Blow Your Nose
10. The Last Shapes Of Never
12. Ladies Of The New Century